Vocational education and training: TAFE funding
University of Ballarat school of education professor Erica Smith recently attended an international workshop in Europe focused on apprenticeships. Following her return, Professor Smith told the Ballarat Courier:
- There is a real push now to use apprenticeships to reduce youth unemployment, particularly in Europe …
She also noted that recent state government TAFE cuts had directly affected courses popular with youth. She went on to say:
- Funding has been withdrawn from courses like retail and hospitality … It is not viable for any training provider to offer them anymore.
She further stated:
- The TAFE sector has shrunk and is not expanding …
- More needs to be put back into TAFE.
Sadly this government has turned its back on so many of our young people, both through the huge cuts to TAFE made in last year’s budget and also through the further $20 million cut to the trade bonus program made in this budget. This cut will see skilled apprentices no longer eligible to receive a funding grant at the commencement of their apprenticeships. This cruel decision will further reduce the chances of many young people in my electorate taking up apprenticeships and, as Professor Smith so clearly points out, reduce the chances of these young people gaining employment.
In my recent meeting with University of Ballarat vice-chancellor David Battersby, he made it very clear that the university was hurting from its $20 million cut to TAFE and its subsequent reduction of approximately one-third of its TAFE offering. This means there will be hundreds of fewer places for young people needing training and is a very serious indictment — —
The DEPUTY SPEAKER — Order! The member’s time has expired.